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Kids should learn how to swim, says expert, after boy found in pond

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Parents are being warned to make sure their children know how to swim after police pulled a young boy out of a retention pond on the city's north side.

Police say the boy, who has autism, is in grave condition. His parents said he wandered away from their home near 86th and Ditch. The boy was found face down in the water, late Thursday night.

According to DCS, 14 Indiana children died from drowning in 2014. The National Autism Association reports, drowning is among the leading causes of death for people with autism.

"We do have special needs lessons specifically geared towards with autism," said Pam Chemelewski, manager at the Goldfish Swim School in Fishers.

She said many kids with autism are attracted to water. But she encourages all parents to get their kids swimming lessons as soon as possible. That means kids as young as four months old.

"Teaching them what to do if they were to fall in the water, to either roll over on their back or to know how to grab a hold of that edge, turn around, get back to the edge and climb out."

Even if you don't think you can afford swim lessons, Chemelewski said there is one thing you can teach your kids right now for free, that could save their life.

“Lay on your back. Point your belly and your toes up to the sky. Put your arms out and you’ll float," she explained.

Parents should also teach their kids to never try to rescue another child who may be struggling in the water. Instead, tell them to run and find an adult who can help.

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